AP European History : Religious Thought

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP European History

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Religious Thought

One of the chief reasons for the founding of the Society of Jesus, better known as the Jesuits, was __________.

Possible Answers:

to fight as an army of Catholic soldiers against Protestant armies

to counter problems perceived to be in the Catholic hierarchy

to provide a new method for electing leadership in the Catholic church

to respond to the success of the Protestant Reformers

to develop a form of Catholic theology that was more effective in reaching foreign cultures

Correct answer:

to respond to the success of the Protestant Reformers

Explanation:

The Society of Jesus was founded by Ignatius of Loyola in 1534 after he was injured in a battle. Working with other like-minded Catholic men, Ignatius developed the Jesuits to be a counterbalancing force to the great success of Protestant Reformers in Europe. The Jesuits would become the "foot soldiers" of Catholicism in spreading the message to different cultures and countries.

Example Question #2 : Religious Thought

People purchased Indulgences to __________.

Possible Answers:

gain noble titles in the Holy Roman Empire

gain forgiveness for sins 

gain the freedom of indentured servants

finance the Spanish Armada

finance the building of Stirling Castle

Correct answer:

gain forgiveness for sins 

Explanation:

Indulgences were sold throughout the medieval period in Europe by the Catholic church as a means to grant oneself forgiveness for sins or to gain forgiveness for someone who had died. The idea was the Catholic church was in charge of dispensing “merit” so that people could enter into heaven and that those who give financially to the church should benefit. They became extremely popular in 1517, when Pope Leo X sold indulgences to build a new St. Peter’s Basilica, as many people attempted to gain forgiveness. The selling of indulgences outraged Martin Luther, who mentioned them throughout his 95 Theses and fought against them as one of his main issues for reform. In 1567, the church outlawed the selling of indulgences.

Example Question #3 : Religious Thought

Who is credited with founding the Methodist religion?

Possible Answers:

John Calvin

King Henry VII of England

John Wycliffe

John Wesley

Huldrych Zwingli

Correct answer:

John Wesley

Explanation:

John Wesley was an Englishman who lived from 1703 to 1791. He did not initially try to break away from the Anglican Church of England, believing that Methodism was just a part of Anglicanism. Wesley was against the idea of predestination and believed in using laypeople to spread the gospel and work for change. Wesley is credited with leading many Methodists to become advocates for important social change.

Example Question #4 : Religious Thought

Deism is the belief that __________.

Possible Answers:

if God does not exist then morality and the meaning of life become irrelevant

God does not exist

God may or may not exist, but the burden of proof rests with the believers, not the doubters

God cannot exist

God created the universe with certain laws, but has not intervened since

Correct answer:

God created the universe with certain laws, but has not intervened since

Explanation:

The belief that God does not exist is called “atheism;” the belief that God may or may not exist, but “I need to see proof for myself” is called “agnosticism.” Deism is the belief that God created the universe with certain permanent laws (the law of gravity and so on) and then sat back and left creation to its own devices: essentially a “watchmaker God,” who created the world and then left it alone. Deism grew in popularity during the so-called Age of Reason in Europe, when scientists and thinkers like Newton began to uncover certain seemingly perfect laws about the universe.

Example Question #5 : Religious Thought

The Great Schism of 1378 involved a split in __________.

Possible Answers:

the Islamic Faith

the monarchy of England

the monarchy of France

the Catholic Church

the monarchy of Scotland

Correct answer:

the Catholic Church

Explanation:

The Great Schism of 1378 involved a split in the Roman Catholic Church. For several years in the fourteenth and early-fifteenth centuries, there were effectively two popes claiming legitimate authority over the whole of Christianity: one in France and one in Rome.

Example Question #6 : Religious Thought

Which of the following doctrines came to be one of the defining attributes of Calvinism during the Protestant Reformation?

Possible Answers:

Tridentine Mass

Unitarianism

Immaculate Conception

Predestination

Congregationalism

Correct answer:

Predestination

Explanation:

John Calvin (1509-1564) was an influential theologian whose teachings formed the basis a wide array of newly formed churches. Chief among Calvin's theological differences from the Catholic church was his belief in predestined salvation. According to Calvin, God was absolutely sovereign in all matters of salvation, meaning that works and faith by human beings are worthless, no matter how good, without being chosen by God for salvation. Rather unintuitively, this led Calvin to preach that moral rectitude in every facet of life was of the utmost importance. Surely, if one had been chosen for salvation by God, he argued, then one had to be of the highest character and ought to show it.

Example Question #7 : Religious Thought

A major source of irritation for church reformers and Protestant rebels, what was the term for a monetary purchase of relief from required penance for sins under Catholic teaching?

Possible Answers:

Pardoning

Transubstantiation

Reprieve

Indulgence

Simony

Correct answer:

Indulgence

Explanation:

Under Catholic teaching, the sins of believers were forgiven upon the crucifixion of Christ; nonetheless, some sins still carry the need for some form of penance or the enduring of a punishment. The doctrine of indulgences allowed for believers to perform certain good works in order to be relieved of the need for penance. Often this meant saying special prayers or giving to charity, but in some cases, priests were open to selling indulgences outright for personal gain. This cynical form of indulgence-granting was one of the factors that led Martin Luther to write his 95 Theses in order to reform the church. Thus, indulgences contributed to the tumultuous religious reorganization of Europe known as the Reformation.

Example Question #8 : Religious Thought

The declining prestige of the Papacy in the years leading up to the Protestant Reformation was a result of all of the following except __________.

Possible Answers:

papal involvement in secular politics

the rise of humanism

the Great Schism

the Babylonian Captivity of the Papacy

the declining wealth of the Italian city states

Correct answer:

the declining wealth of the Italian city states

Explanation:

The prestige of the Papacy declined significantly in the decades leading up to the Protestant Reformation. The Babylonian Captivity of the Papacy, a fourteenth-century event in which popes were held in Avignon by the French King, and the Great Schism, in which two separate popes, one in Rome and one in France, were elected for several decades, both contributed negatively to the prestige of the Papacy. The Pope’s involvement in secular politics also contributed to the declining prestige of the Papacy, as it angered the rulers of Europe and inspired disdain from intellectuals. Finally, the rise of humanism put a greater emphasis on the abilities and virtues of man and less emphasis on salvation. The Italian city states were only gaining wealth in this time period, so this answer choice cannot be said to have contributed to the declining prestige of the Papacy.

Example Question #9 : Religious Thought

The work of these two religious reformers may be understood as a precursor to the Protestant Reformation?

Possible Answers:

Ignatius Loyola and Torquemada

Johann Tetzel and Martin Luther

Jan Hus and John Wycliffe

John Calvin and Ignatius Loyola

Johann Tetzel and Jan Hus

Correct answer:

Jan Hus and John Wycliffe

Explanation:

Jan Hus and John Wycliffe were both European religious reformers in the centuries leading up to the Protestant Reformation. Both men emphasized personal communion with God and diminished the significance of the Church as the only path to salvation.

Example Question #10 : Religious Thought

Which of these Roman Catholic sacraments were preserved in Lutheranism?

I. Baptism

II. Confirmation

III. Communion

IV. Penance

Possible Answers:

II and IV

II only 

I and III

I only 

I, II, and III

Correct answer:

I and III

Explanation:

The Roman Catholic Church had long held that there were seven sacraments that outwardly reflected inner faith. Luther disagreed and outlined in his published writings that only baptism and communion were legitimate sacraments within Lutheranism.

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